13 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm


Over the past year, Facebook has been rolling out algorithm updates that have resulted in decreased visibility for business’s organic page posts – in March, it looked like organic reach on Facebook was rapidly approaching zero.

Organic reach on Facebook

So how do you beat the odds? In my article today, I'll cover 13 tactics to beat the Facebook algorithm and help you get your fan engagement back!

NEW: 5 Hacks to Beat the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm

1. Share Great Content

The old adage remains true - (quality) content is king. (Sorry about the cliché, Elisa.) If you post awesome content, your chances of being liked and shared increases, boosting your presence in Facebook news feeds. Many of Facebook’s algorithm tweaks are aimed at weeding out what Facebook deems “low quality content,” like memes. For greater reach, opt instead for quality content from news sites. It’s a bit bourgeois for Facebook to assume CNN articles are always classy and memes are always pond scum, but we don’t get much choice in how Facebook adjusts its algorithm. My suggestion? Ramp up on your own original high-quality content with e-books, blog posts, white papers, etc.

2. Use Facebook Ads

With organic reach down, now is the perfect time to experiment with Facebook advertising. Facebook has revamped their ad system to be easier than ever to use. Paid Facebook ads can appear right in a user’s newsfeed, seamlessly blending with organic posts while boasting better reach. They've also introduced a new ad relevance score (basically Quality Score for Facebook.) Give them a shot and see how they perform. Facebook ads are perfect for companies operating in competitive creative industries like craft marketing.

Facebook algorithm hacks ads

3. Extend to Other Social Networks

Integrate your Facebook marketing with other social networks – post pins, tweet, etc. Facebook has become crowded, with organic space steadily shrinking. There’s tons of competition and it’s easy for your content to get buried in users’ news feeds. Explore greener pastures by delving into newer social media hubs like Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Google+. Don’t let Facebook be your crutch.

Facebook hacks social network buttons

4. Time to Get Personal

Personal account posts tend to show up more in news feeds than business page posts, so why not take advantage of your staff members? Most of them probably use Facebook, so get them liking and sharing your company content. All is fair in the Facebook wars.

5. Import Your Contacts

If you have a big email list, you can import your contacts (up to 5k names at a time) and invite them to join your Facebook page. A higher number of Facebook friends means that your content will reach more people, despite lower organic visibility percentages. The more the merrier.

Facebook import contacts

6. Post More Often

Increase your chances of appearing in news feeds simply by posting more. Get the odds in your favor! Posting 4-6 times a day increases the likelihood that one of those posts will get a bite.

7. Share Exclusive Content

Make your Facebook posts count by sharing exclusive content users won’t find anywhere else. Publicize flash sales, special discounts, contests, etc.

Facebook exclusive content

8. Pay Attention to Analytics

Since organic Facebook marketing has become significantly more difficult, it’s time to start paying careful attention to your analytics. You don’t need anything too fancy – Facebook’s own analytics can show you which posts perform better than others. See what kind of content drives the most engagement with your followers. Do they respond to videos? Which articles do they click on? What topics get them excited? Look for trends and then replicate for success.

9. Go Multimedia

Don’t rely solely on text posts. Image and video posts perform exceedingly better than text posts. Share YouTube videos, Pinterest pins, and Instagram pics on Facebook.

Beat the Facebook algorithm

With Facebook’s buyout of Instagram, it wouldn't be ridiculous to think that maybe Facebook is giving preference to Instagram pics over other pieces of content. Nothing official on this of course, but it doesn’t hurt to amp up the Insta-posts just in case.

10. Leverage User Generated Content

If you’re not making much of a splash on Facebook these days, at least make the attention you do get worthwhile. Take advantage of Facebook as a source of user generated content by hosting photo contests, video contests, etc. You may not get as many entries as you would have in Facebook’s glory days, but the user generated content you do get is golden. User generated content can be repurposed and used elsewhere in blog posts, testimonials, and other marketing materials.

Facebook user generated content marketing

Some very cool UGC from Starbucks

11. Engage with FB Fans

Drive fan engagement by asking questions and encouraging fan response. Try caption contests, fill in the banks, and other posts that drive user interaction. In return, it’s your job to follow suit by responding to their questions and comments and interacting with fans whenever possible.

Facebook algorithm hacks comments

Visa responds to even the most mundane comments from Facebook users

12. Give Your Page a Makeover

Make the most of the fans that interact with your Facebook page by using a powerful cover image. Try using the Facebook cover photo as a call to action.

Facebook tricks cover image call to action

13. Reach Out to Other Community Managers

Firstly, a disclaimer – this last workaround might be considered "gray hat," but it can work very well if handled correctly. To boost exposure for your business pages, reach out to and forge relationships with one or two other community managers in similar industries and agree to like each other's content. Alternatively, if you're not comfortable doing that, ask your employees to like one update per week – the increased post engagement will improve post visibility.

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Shawn DeWolfe
Sep 03, 2014

Great piece! It really sums it all up. I try to encourage people to tweet with images: a) it's allowed; b) a picture can be worth at least 1000 words-- talk about exceeding your 140 characters!

Paul Feiner
Sep 03, 2014

Hey Larry, This is one of my favorite topics, and thanks for putting out quality thinking on this because not many people do.From ad standpoint, the FB ad platform is evolving so fast, and it's amazing how quickly you can turn data (i.e. placement, demographics, device) and tweak ads until they're performing more efficiently than any other channel. Twitter seems to be 5 months behind every added feature (Look-A-Likes available in Twitter now, btw). From an organic content standpoint, here's the order I see that FB's algorithm values various interactions in terms of pushing your content to reach further.1. Shares 2. Comments 3. Video Views 4. Link Clicks 5. Likes 6. Photo Views 7. Views of conversationTo that end, writing content becomes a game of "make it impossibly simple for the audience to take specific actions."Need comments? Divide your audience on a topic w/ very simple answer options. A or B content works great. As does A, B, C, or D. In fact, write posts like you're writing a high school test."YES or NO: Will the Vikings score at least 17 points on Sunday?"In another form..."On Sunday, the Vikings will score: A. 10 points or less B. 13-17 Points C. 17-21 Points D. 21-28 Points E. Over 30 PointsAnd when you're talking about less numerical answers, like "What's your favorite part of Summer," offer a few options and then leave it open-ended like this:"What's your favorite part about Summer? A. Time at the lake B. Just being outside C. Catching up with friends and family D. Something else"This makes it so easy to answer that your audience can just answer with "A" or "B" -- but the algorithm doesn't appear to value those comments any less, and so you end up with more comments and greater reach. Getting Shares, Likes, and Link Clicks have their own nuances as well, but I've said enough.Have any good post models for creating mass amounts of native FB interactions?Cheers,-Paul  

Sep 03, 2014

Yesterday we noticed that Facebook no longer allowed us to import contacts into any of our Facebook pages. Have you seen the same thing? We were wondering if it is something that is rolling out network wide? 

Jess Green
Sep 20, 2014

I noticed this as well and looked into it, apparently the import contact feature is not available on all pages right now but it sounds like it will be in the future!

Oct 14, 2014

It seems to only work on certain page types. I changed mine from Brands & Products: Website  (which didn't display the import) to a local business and the import option then appeared.Imported my list and then switched back to the previous category.

Sep 04, 2014

Hi Larry,Love the post, some great ideas.One that I would disagree with is posting more frequently. I don't think that this should be stated as a tactic unless you're aware of the potential harm it can cause. I think this wholly depends on your audience type and their tolerance to frequent posting. For one of our clients, we found that people were engaging much less when posting 4+ times per day. A reduction in interaction only serves to lower your edge rank and in turn lower your potential for organic reach.Another thing to keep your eye on is post quality. If you churn out posts of mediocre quality just to get yourself out there, you could again do more harm than good. The same principles applying, less engagement, less edge rank, lower potential for organic reach.I would advise to measure engagement vs post frequency and post quality/type to find the right balance for the brand you're looking at.Just thought I'd add my two cents, in case people decided to go on a mass posting mission without considering the consequences.Nick @ tp. 

Larry clinton
Sep 10, 2014

This article teaches how to get popular on Facebook. Yeah, this is a nice work and it will be very useful to me.

Kathy Webb
Sep 10, 2014

On my business page, there is not an option to import contacts under Build Audience - Boo hiss Facebook. Only options are to purchase ads.

Sep 16, 2014

Great posts! Like some of the other commenters on here, I do not have the "Import Contacts" Section on 2 of my 3 pages anymore. Some people have said that it has to do with the type of category you have chosen. I do not think this is the case though, as the page that still has this feature and one of my other pages are the same types. I posted in several LinkedIn groups, G+ communities and Facebook forums with no luck on a fix/answer. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Larry clinton
Sep 18, 2014

nice article is this.thanks to post this article.

Oct 06, 2014

A great article as usual Larry. One point is that I am not sure there is still the Import Contacts feature on Build Audience as I certainly could not find it.

Tamira Hamilton
Nov 04, 2014

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this. It is very practical and doable. The list is the perfect size and not overwhelming. I had completely forgotten about importing contacts! Taking care of that tonight and will be scheduling to do this on a regular basis.

Future Buffalo
Nov 07, 2014

Lots of good points. You have to build up your base using Facebook advertising if you only have a few likes. I also like the idea of posting exclusive content. That's what really can drive people there.

Obat Kolesterol Tinggi
Nov 23, 2014

thanks for this good information, very helpful at his newscontinues to write his more recent information

Jan 06, 2015

A little late to the party on this one, but I thought I'd leave my comment anyway because I liked this article so much.

Lots of great tips here--I'd say we're already doing about 50% of these things, but the import contacts option as well as talking to employees and other groups sounds really helpful.

Neil Milliner
Mar 16, 2015

I have noticed a trend in posts being more and more censored. Not even sure all my friends see all my comments and postings. Of course I always have the option of paying for ads don't I?
BTW not long ago imported 2700 odd contacts and got a warning letter from FB.

Brad Haws
May 18, 2015

Thanks for the list. Always good to add more ammunition to the program. One question on #5. When you import the contact list, does that send out an email or just hit them up on Facebook?

Troy Johnson
Sep 02, 2015

Wow. This all sounds like activity that is perfectly designed to increase engagement on Facebook. For a restaurant this would be fine. Indeed Facebook could be a restaurants actual web presence, and they could benefit.

For a content provider however, these tactics generally result in a cannibalization of our traffic, as we increase engagement on Facebook, engagement on our site naturally declines. a substaintial portion of Facebook users are accessing the site via a mobile application. They generally do not leave the application to read an article in their browser ap.

A few years ago when I had 1/4 of the fans, I was getting more than double the engagement and click throughs than I am today, the graphic from Ogilvy reflects my data.

adam cote
Jul 11, 2016

I call BULLSHIT on this page , when the SECOND advice is using a COMMERCIAL facebook concept. WTF? I thought this page was about hacking fb, not joining it as a revenue stream. SMH

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